Prof. Bishnu Pal, Dean School of Engineering and Academics, Mahindra University emphasizes on teaching-learning practices

“I used to be at IIT Delhi for 35 years I never used PowerPoint there but now here I use because of this problem,” says Prof. Bishnu Pal, Dean School of Engineering and Academics, Mahindra University in an interview with Chandan Anand, Founding Editor, ArdorComm Media Group at the ‘ArdorComm – Higher Education and Edtech Conclave & Awards 2022’ #HEETbengaluru

We have seen and witnessed how the overall education industries has transformed since last two and a half years what has been the role of your university and how you have transformed your teaching learning practices?

Till we have been hit by the covid, we were still in classical mode of teaching but because of the covid we had to innovate and try to maximize for the transfer of knowledge through online mode because there are no students who are allowed to come into the class. So, all the lectures were held online, when it’s the large class it was through zoom and for medium to smaller classes it was by MS Teams. The problem that we eventually experienced is that we don’t know whether the student is really listening to them. You know he’s on but this applies to a percentage of students who are not so serious that they are trying to tell themselves that I am very smart, but that is not true the good students are still attending that we can see in the in the examination. They are delivering in the examination against questions but there are some certain problems that you cannot do it since it is engineering. When you carry out the calculation step by step in that process also students’ brain is working but if you just show directly a PowerPoint right it does not work so well in engineering and most importantly the practical process laboratory classes are very difficult. So, what we did was that we teachers actually carry out the experiment and video recorded then shared with the students but whether they have understood or not that we tested by having some viva voice examinations.

How does a blended education overall transform the teacher student dynamics in terms of their relation of grasping the lecture delivery?

We have flagged problems there because what you do in a physical class, by just looking at the face of the student you can make out whether what you have told has been absorbed by the students from the face itself will tell. You can walk around those students who are not very serious not listen, you walk towards the end of the class and then you can ask physically you can’t do it on a blended part it’s very difficult. I’ve seen so many people are working so many ed-tech companies are working we have fantastic you know IT people around in the country so I’m very hopeful that there will be a lot of new innovations which will try to minimize these problems. Yes, completely is difficult but I also said at the end there is also a lot of positives of the online like for example you can store your figures already and that you can simultaneously use while you are writing on the board so you have that facility in the class otherwise that was not there. So, these are certain positives, it did not be completely PowerPoint. I used to be at IIT Delhi for 35 years I never used PowerPoint there but now here I use because of this problem. There also is a problem so there are innovations you have to make for every one line you can bring into animation that’s what I do and my US friend says that is a good idea because otherwise students focus on the whole board so these are the innovations.

Today is also a very special day for ArdorComm Media as we are celebrating our first anniversary and one year of difficult and interesting struggle of existence, any message would you like to give to ArdorComm Media Groups?

The message is you have to continuously innovate today product lifecycle is very short, I’m actually a specialist in optical communication, in telecom the general rule is that 25 years survival of a product but in optical communications during the boom time it happened within five years or four years. You need to develop an impact so this applies also to companies like you who are involved with that. So, you have to continuously innovate come out with new ideas.

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